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places of the various ensigns of Popery. Luther saw that this was no way to reform the church; that error must first be eradicated from the minds of the people, before any thing could be effected to any good purpose ; and that if this was once done, images and relics, and other superstitions would of course fall.
Safety was valuable, but his own preservation was not what the reformer sought. He felt for the good of the Church, and was anxious again to be engaged in her conflicts. “ I sit here,” said he, in a letter to Melanchton, “ in my Patmos, reflecting all the day on thė wretched condition of the Church. And I bemoan the bardness of my heart that I am not dissolved into tears on this account. May God have mercy upon us." And again, * For the glory of the word of God, and for the mutual confirmation of myself and others, I would much rather burn on the live coal, than live here alone, half alive and useless. rish it is God's will; neither will the Gospel suffer in any degree. I hope you will succed me, as Elisha did Elijah.”
The intemperate and misguided zeal of Carlostadt brought Luther from his retreat to Wittemberg, March 1522, without the consent or knowledge of his patron and protector, Frederic. It was a happy event. Carlostadt and his party listened to his, as to a voice from heaven, and order was restored.
Luther's first business was the publication of his New Testament. This struck a heavy blow at the root of Popery. It was rapidly circulated, and read with avidity by all classes throughout Germany; and it opencd the eyes of men to the true doctrines of the Gospel, and enabled them at once to see clearly the corruptions of the church of Rome. He afterwards applied himself, with the assistance of Melancthon, to the translation of the Old Testament, which he finished and published in 1530; a work of amazing labor.
Luther also resumed, at Wittemberg, the business of preaching, in which he did much to enlighten, reform, and quiet the people of Saxony:* By his labors many souls were converted
* Ajust idea of Luther's preaching may be learned from the following anecdote. "Luther had heard the celebrated Bucer preach a sermon, and invited him to supper. After commending the sermon, he said he could preach better than Bucer. Bucer courteously assented, saying, that by universal consent, that praise belonged to Luther. Luther then, seriously replied, do not think I am vainly boasting ; I am conscious of my own slender stores, nor could I preach so learned a sermon as you have done to-day ; but my practice is this :-when I ascend the pulpit, I consider what is the character of my hearers, most of whom are rude and uninstructed people, almost Goths and Vandals, and I preach to them what I think they can understand. But you rise aloft, and soar
and many evils were corrected in the churches. The friends of the reformation were every where animated and strengthened. Nuremberg, Frankfort, Hamburg, and other free cities of the first rank, openly embraced the principles of the reformer, and abolished the mass, and other rites of popery.
Some high princes also, the elector of Brandenburgh, the dukes of Brunswick and Lunenburgh, and prince of Anhalt, declared openly on the side of Luther, and supported his preachers in their dominions. The gospel again was preached with great power; the word of the Lord had free course and was glorified..
Reformation spreads. Death of Leo X. Sacramental controversy.
War of the Peusants. Death of Frederic. Decision of john. Martyrs. Diet at Spire. Luther marries. Writes, in vain submissive letters. Publishes his hymns. An attempt made to poison him. His conflict with Erasinus. Second diet at Spire. The Reformers condemned, and protest. Called Protestants. Diet at Augsburg. Confession of Augsburg. League of Smalkeld. Peace of Nuremberg. Anabaptists. Reformation in England Conference at Worms Death of Luther. Council of Trent. Battle of Mukleberg. Interim . Peace of Religion. Reformation in Switerland. Zuinglius. Calvin. Reformation in Holland and Scotland. Jolin Knor. Sentiments of the Reformers. Church government. Blessings of the reforination.
The light of the Reformation, like that of the orient sun, soon spread over the various countries of Europe. The followers of Luther had a feeling in relation to papal Rome, similar to that which filled the breasts of the Apostles, when they looked abroad and saw the whole earth given to idolatry. Their immediate duty was to enlighten man in the knowledge of the truth. Under the influence of this feeling, Olaus Petri propogated the reformed religion in Sweden, soon after Luther's rupture with Rome. The Catholic priests made violent opposition to him, but his efforts were powerfully seconded by the monarch, Gustavus Vasa, who while an exile at Lubec, kad learnt into the clouds ; so that your sermons suit the learned, but are unintelligible to our plain people. I endeavour to copy the mother, who thinks the child better fed with the simple milk of the breast, than with the most costly confections."
IN SWEDEN AND DENMARK
something of Lutheranism, and gained a favorable opinion of it as the true gospel. Persuaded that the only way to effect a real reformation, was to enlighten the minds of the people in divine truth, he ordered Andreas, his chancellor; with Olaus, to translate the scriptures into the Swedish tongue"; and, to silence the objections of the Papists, be ordered the archbishop of Upsul also to translate them, that the two versions might be compared, and that it might be seen on which side truth lay. He also ordered a conference at Upsal between Petri and Gallius, a zealous Papist, in which Petri gained the victory. For a time the situation of Sweden was critical. lo no countries had the Catholics reaped greater temporal benefits from their superstitions, than in Sweden and Denmark. The revenues of the bi. shops were superior to that of the sovereign. Tbey bad strong castles and fortresses, and lived in the greatest luxury; while the nobility and people were in the lowest state of degradation. But they could not withstand the noble Gustavus. In 1527, he assembled the states at Westeraas, and, after powerfully recommending the doctrine of the reformers, declared that he would lay down his sceptre and retire from the kingdom, if it longer continued subject to the Papal dominion. Opposition was silenced; the Papal empire in Sweden was overturned, and the reformed religion was publicly adopted.
In 1522, Christian II., king of Denmark, a man profligate and ambitious in the extreme, who merely wished to throw off the Papal dominion, that he inight subject the bishops and increase his own power, sent to Wittemberg for a preacher of the retormation. Martin Reinard accepted of the invitation, and his labors were greatly blessed. But such were the vices of the king that the reformation was greatly retarded, and it was not untik gucceeding periods, under Frederic and Christian III.that it was completed.
In Hungary and Prussia, a strong desire was manifested in the same year, to receive the light of the reformation, and even to see and hear Luther bimself.
In France there was a multitude of persons, who with Margaret, queen of Navarre, sister to Francis l., at their head, as early as 1523, felt very favorably inclined toward the reformed reli. gion, and erected several churches for a purer worship. But the reformed were exceedingly depressed by the strong arm of
The French had a translation of the Bible, which had been made in 1224, by Guivers des Moulios, which was printed at Paris in 1487, and now much read; and the Psalms put into metre and sung as ballads.
While Leo X. was suffering the severe mortification of seeing the cause of the reformation advance with rapid steps, he departed this life, A. D. 1522. He was succeeded in the popedom by Adrian VI., who died the next year, and was succeeded by Clement VII. Each pursued, unremittingly, the same course for the extermination, it possible, of the new opinions, and the preservation of the Papal dominion.'
Could Luther and his partizans have been firmly united, their success might have been more speedy, if not nltimately greater; but how could it be expected that men, just emerging from the grossest superstitions, should have at once a full, clear and uniform view of divine truth. In the year 1524, arose a tedious and unhappy controversy between the Reformer, and Carlostadt and Zuinglius, on the sacrament of the supper. While Luther rejected the popish doctrine of transubstantiation as upscriptu•ral, he still believed that, along with the bread and wine, the partakers received the real body and blood of Christ. Carlostadt, Zuinglius, and the churches in Switzerland, adopted the truly correct system, “ That the body and blood of Christ were not really present in the eucharist, and that the bread and wine weren
no more than external signs or symbols, designed to excite in the minds of Christians the remembrance of the sufferings and death of the divine Saviour, and of the benefits which arise from them." The firmness and obstinacy of Luther in this un. fortunate contention, were as great as in his attacks upon the Papacy; and friends, who had embarked together in the most important of causes, were ultimately completely severed.
A large body of peasants had rebelled in Germany, about the commencement of the reformation, against the oppressions of the feudal institutions. Their spirit of liberty reached those provinces in which the reformation was established, and immediately demanded a release from all religious domination. But the leaders of the peasants were from the lowest orders of society, and were very ignorant and fanatical. They knew not in what a reformation consisted beyond plundering monasteries and churches, and massacreing all persons without discrimination, who upheld the old order of things. Thomas Muncer had acquired an astonishing influence over them. He, with other leaders, Stork, Stubner, and Cellory, professed to have a divine commission, and pretended to visions and revelations. Luther they utterly condemned as no reformer. All men they declared equal; and they viewed it the duty of all to live on an equality and have all things common. Their seditious, levelling, demoralizing spirit, Luther utterly condemned; but it was exceedingly
WAR OF THE PEASENTS.
popular, and an immense body, under arms filled Germany with terror; but they were routed in a pitched battle with the emperor's troops, and Muncer was taken and put to death.
This war of the peasants, which cost Germany more than 50,000 men, was unfavorable to the cause of the reformation; for it gave the Papists occasion to accuse the reformers of the wildest fanaticismn, and led the civil powers to connect a revolution in politics with a change of religion.
On the fifth of May, 1525, Luther lost his patron, Frederick the Wise. He had been a very zealous Papist; but his mind had gradually opened to the reception of divine truth; and though he had never formerly broken off from the Roman church, yet he was, for many years the protector and shield of the reformers. He was succeeded by his brother John, who at once took a decided stand in favor of the reformation; placed himself at the head of the Lutheran church; provided a new order of public worship and placed over every congregation well qualified pastors; had the sacrament administered to the laity in the German language, and caused his new regulations to be proclaimed by heralds throughout his dominions. Such decision and boldness brought out other princes and states of Germany in favor of the same worship, discipline, and government; and also drove back all who were not heartily engaged in the cause, or who had not boldness to wage open war with the Pope, into the bosom of the church.
The line was now clearly drawn, and it was known by all parties, who belonged to the reformed, and who to the papal cause, The increase of evangelical light was great. The call for preachers of the truth was unexpected from every part of Germany, and from distant places in Europe,
But a reformation was not to be effected without the shed. ding of blood. James Payaq was burnt alive at Paris, in 1525, for his profession of pure Christianity. A German, named Wolfangus Schuch, was condemned to the same dreadful death. One Bernard also, and John De Becker, obtained the crown of martyrdom from the hands of the papists. An open rupture seemed unavoidable, In 1526 the diet assembled at Spire; and the papal party endeavored to have the sentence pf Worms against Luiher and his adherents rigorously executed, But the German princes refused to act; declaring that points of doctrina pught to be submitted to a general council; and it was tinally, agreed that the Emperor should be requested to assemble a gen. eral council without delay, and that in the meantime, the prin. ces and states of the empire should be suffered to manage ece